This afternoon I started making confirmation calls to all the people who have intake appointments tomorrow. I was put on hold by some one as they went to get the person I was calling and during that time I briefly glanced down to the bottom of the intake form. Under mental health diagnosis it said: paranoid schizophrenia.
My heart skipped a beat as I realized this person I was about to talk to might demonstrate behaviors that I might not know how to respond to. But then this seemed ridiculous considering the number of paranoid schizophrenics I was interacting with every day at my last psych clinic temp job. The difference? At the last job I didn't know anyone's actual mental health diagnosis before they came in and spoke to me. This allowed me to treat everyone equally, respectfully, without any preconceived notions or judgments about who they are and how they would interact with me. As a result I gave my best to everyone and had a willingness and enthusiasm to help no matter what they asked of me.
This just strikes me as amazing because it doesn't just apply to the mental health industry. It's universal. We often have a preconceived idea and judgment of people based on their health, on gossip, on their profession, even their looks or their income. How many times have we talked down to the plumber because he's a plumber? How many times have we assumed some one is not like us because of the way they dress? If we were to run into a famous celebrity would we automatically be put off because we read in the tabloids that they are a rich, spoiled, diva? How many opportunities to meet people, to know people, to support people or be supported by them do we miss in life because we think we know who they are before they ever say a word to us?
And on a much lighter note, I just got done handing all the drug testing urine samples over to the courier. I didn't know who he was when he approached the front desk until he said to me, "I'm here to collect the pee-pee." Heh. Yay for unusual jobs! :)